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$7.8 million in funding from Infrastructure Law to clean Brownfield sites in Alabama

Rep. Terri Sewell was the only member of Alabama’s delegation to vote in favor of President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Rep. Terri Sewell
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U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, on Tuesday announced $7,830,500 in funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up polluted Brownfield sites and advance environmental justice in Alabama. Among the entities receiving funding are Craig Field in Selma, Gabriela Apartments in Selma, and the City of Montgomery. Funding was awarded through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Programs and was made possible by President Biden’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Rep. Sewell was the only member of Alabama’s Congressional Delegation to vote in favor of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“For too long, minority and underserved communities have been disproportionately exposed to pollution and environmental hazards from industrial complexes,” said Rep. Sewell. “This transformational funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is about righting those wrongs and putting our communities on a path to regain their environmental health. I was so proud to help make this funding available and I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for their commitment to environmental justice!”

Entities awarded funding in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District include:

  • Craig Field Airport and Industrial Authority, AL – $556,000 Cleanup Grant

EPA has selected the Craig Field Airport and Industrial Authority for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Grant funds will be used to clean up the .5-acre Craig Field Gym Complex located at Building 316, Avenue C in the City of Selma. The cleanup site was formerly used as a recreational facility by Craig Air Force Base personnel and houses a historical gym that is severely dilapidated and vacant. It is contaminated with inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to prepare a Community Involvement Plan and conduct community engagement activities.

  • Gabriela Apartments, Inc., Selma, AL – $1,274,500 Cleanup Grant

EPA has selected Gabriela Apartments, Inc. for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Grant funds will be used to clean up the Old Baptist Hospital located at 15 Riverview Avenue in the City of Selma. The 3.3-acre cleanup site operated as a hospital from 1924 to 1978 and then as an office building until 2003. The site is currently vacant with a collapsed roof and worn and weathered walls. It is contaminated with benzo(a)pyrene and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to develop a Community Involvement Plan and conduct community engagement activities.

  • Montgomery, AL – $500,000 Assessment Grant

EPA has selected the City of Montgomery for a Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 13 Phase I environmental site assessments and eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to inventory and prioritize sites, prepare four cleanup and three reuse plans, develop a Community Involvement Plan, and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will occur in the West Montgomery and Centennial Hill communities. Priority sites include the historic Ben Moore Hotel, two abandoned dry cleaners, and a 3-acre former gas station and auto repair shop.

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Other Alabama entities awarded funding include:

  • Alabama Department of Environmental Management – $2,000,000 Assessment Grant

EPA has selected the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for a Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant for States and Tribes that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 10 Phase 1 and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop a strategic Redevelopment Plan and conduct community engagement activities. The target areas for this grant are the City of York and the Towns of Union Springs and Autaugaville, which have been impacted by an economic shift in the State of Alabama from agriculture to industrial manufacturing. Priority sites include a downtown block across from the current city hall, an abandoned fueling station, and an old drugstore in the City of York; Newtown Park and an old warehouse in the Town of Union Springs; and an old school building in the Town of Autaugaville.

  • East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission – $1,500,000 Assessment Grant

EPA has selected the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission (EARPDC) to lead a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to prepare seven reuse plans and conduct 36 environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare a Community Involvement Plan and seven reuse/area-wide plans, create a brownfields site inventory and a prioritization process, and conduct community engagement activities. Assessment activities will occur throughout EARPDC’s 10-county area with a focus on the Talladega Education Gateway, Avondale Mills Village, and Alabama City/Downtown Corridor in Gadsden. Priority sites include a 46-acre former textile mill that contains a large, fire-damaged, crumbling main plant building and several dilapidated support buildings; a 1.7-mile greenway extension of the Black Creek Trail; the former 1.5-acre Sears building, which is abandoned and vacant; a 6.2-acre parcel that includes a former factory building that operated as a cotton mill until 2007; and a .01-acre parcel that was a used tire and service station for decades. Non-lead coalition members include the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enrichment and Downton Gadsden Inc.

  • Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments – $500,000 Assessment Grant

EPA has selected the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments for a Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 18 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to update and maintain a site inventory and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will occur throughout five counties in northwest Alabama, with a focus on the City of Leighton, the City of Tuscumbia, and the City of Haleyville. Priority sites include the 5-acre former Leighton Training School campus, a former service station and a former commercial laundry site in Tuscumbia, and the 7-acre former Bama Textile Mill property in Haleyville.

  • Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments – $1,500,000 Assessment Grant

EPA has selected the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments to lead a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Grant funds will be used to inventory sites and conduct 32 Phase I and 25 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop 15 cleanup plans and three revitalization plans, and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Easy Street Corridor in the City of Athens’ downtown district, the Walker Street Corridor in the Town of Gurley, and the Gault Avenue Corridor in the City of Fort Payne. Priority sites include a vacant building previously used to store rail freight, a 0.33-acre vacant lot that houses a 1,290-square-foot former convenience store and gas station with three above-ground storage tanks, and a 3-acre lot that houses six vacant industrial and warehouse buildings. Non-lead coalition members include the City of Fort Payne and Launch 2035.

These awards are part of a $300 million nationwide investment into Brownfield sites by the Biden-Harris Administration to address legacy pollution, advance environmental justice, and create healthier communities. 

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

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EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.”  

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.  

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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